British Rail Class 322

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British Rail Class 322
322485 Leeds.jpg
Arriva Rail North 322485 at Leeds in June 2018
In service1990–present
ManufacturerBritish Rail Engineering Limited
Built atHolgate Road carriage works
Family nameBR Second Generation (Mark 3)
ReplacedClass 305
Hunslet-Barclay, Kilmarnock
Number built5 sets
Formation4 carriages
Fleet numbers322481 - 322485
Capacity309 seats per set[1]
Operator(s)Greater Anglia
Car length19.95 m (65 ft 5 38 in)
Width2.82 m (9 ft 3 in)[2]
Height3.78 m (12 ft 4 78 in)[2]
Maximum speed100 mph (161 km/h)
Weight141.8 t (139.6 long tons)[2]
Acceleration0.55 m/s/s (2.0 km/(h⋅s); 1.2 mph/s)[3]
Electric system(s)25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead
Braking system(s)Air (Westcode)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The British Rail Class 322 electric multiple units were built by British Rail Engineering Limited in 1990 for the Stansted Express service from London Liverpool Street to Stansted Airport. After becoming surplus to requirements on this route, the fleet saw further use with a number of other operators.


The original interior of a Stansted Express Class 322

In 1987 British Rail (BR) was extending electrification north from London Liverpool Street towards Cambridge. Included in this plan was the construction of new branch line, diverging from the main line at Stansted Mountfitchet, to serve the newly built Stansted Airport, which opened in 1991. BR decided to build a dedicated fleet of units to work a new service, the Stansted Express.[4][5]

The Class 322 units were built to the same basic design as the Class 321 units, which were still under construction for services on the Great Eastern Main Line and West Coast Main Line. Although the Stansted route fell under the jurisdiction of Network SouthEast (NSE), the units were delivered into service in a special white livery with a broad green band, instead of the more usual NSE blue/red/white livery.

Five 4-car units were built, numbered 322481–485. Each unit consisted of two outer driving trailers, an intermediate trailer and an intermediate motor coach. The technical description of the formation of each unit is DTCO+TSO+MSO+DTSO. Individual vehicles are numbered as follows:

  • 78163–78167 – DTCO
  • 72023–72027 – TSO
  • 63137–63141 – MSO
  • 77985–77989 – DTSO

The units were the last of a long line of BR multiple units to be based on the Mark 3 bodyshell design.

Current operations[edit]

Greater Anglia[edit]

In July 2020 all were leased to Greater Anglia to operate services out of London Liverpool Street on the Great Eastern Main Line. They were leased to allow Class 360s to move to East Midlands Railway. All are scheduled to be replaced by Class 720s in 2021.[6][7]

Former operations[edit]

West Anglia Great Northern[edit]

One 322485 at London Liverpool Street in August 2004

In the lead up to the privatisation of British Rail, all were sold to Eversholt Rail Group.[8] All passed with the franchise to West Anglia Great Northern in January 1997. Having been replaced by Class 317s on Stansted services, they began to operate on other WAGN services including on the East Coast Main Line from London King's Cross to Peterborough.

In 1998, all were hired to North Western Trains for use on West Coast Main Line services from London Euston to Manchester Airport.[9] After the service was cancelled, they returned to WAGN.[10][11]


In December 2001, all were transferred to fellow National Express franchise ScotRail to replace Class 305s on the North Berwick Line. To facilitate their movement to Glasgow Shields Road TMD, they also operated limited services to Glasgow Central via the Carstairs line.[12][13]


On the instructions of the Strategic Rail Authority, all returned to WAGN in March 2004 in preparation for the takeover of the franchise by One.[14][15]

First ScotRail[edit]

First ScotRail 322485 at Edinburgh Waverley in October 2007

Having been deemed surplus by One, in July 2005 all returned to Scotland to operate with First ScotRail on the North Berwick Line.[16][17] To provide cover while its Class 321s were overhauled, 322484 was hired to Northern Rail to operate Doncaster to Leeds services.[18] In 2006/07, all were refurbished by Hunslet-Barclay, Kilmarnock with capacity increased from 252 to 293.[19][20]


Having been superseded by Class 380s, all were transferred to Northern Rail in July and August 2011.[21][22] Based at Neville Hill TMD, they operated services from Leeds to Doncaster, Bradford Forster Square, Skipton and Ilkley. Having passed with the franchise to Arriva Rail North and Northern Trains, all were replaced by Class 331s with the last withdrawn in May 2020.[23][24]

Fleet details[edit]

Unit Number Current Livery Vehicle Numbers Current Operator
322481 Northern blue 78163 72023 63137 77985 Greater Anglia
322482 78164 72024 63138 77986
322483 78165 72025 63139 77987
322484 78166 72026 63140 77988
322485 78167 72027 63141 77989


  2. ^ a b c "Class 322 Technical data". TheRailwayCentre.Com. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
  3. ^ "Class 322". Eversholt Rail. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  4. ^ New line for Stansted makes progess Rail issue 78 March 1988 page 15
  5. ^ BREL EMU orders The Railway Magazine issue 1051 November 1988 page 687
  6. ^ Stored stock makes way for deliveries of new vehicles Rail issue 904 6 May 2020 page 25
  7. ^ All GA 755s in passenger service Rail issue 911 12 August 2020 page 29
  8. ^ 25 Years of ROSCOs Railway Express issue 281 October 2019 page 20
  9. ^ NWT livery for Class 322 Stansted units Rail issue 329 22 April 1998 page 12
  10. ^ FNW cuts Euston-Manchester service Rail issue 355 21 April 1999 page 13
  11. ^ First North Western to axe Manchester-London service The Railway Magazine issue 1178 June 1999 page 9
  12. ^ ScotRail shuffles units as ex-Stansted 322s arrive Rail issue 427 23 January 2002 page 58
  13. ^ Full 322 North Berwick service Rail issue 437 12 June 2002 page 10
  14. ^ ScotRail's 322s to return south Rail issue 468 20 August 2003 page 9
  15. ^ Class 322s return south Entrain issue 31 July 2004 page 25
  16. ^ Class 322s return north Rail issue 519 3 August 2005 page 28
  17. ^ 322s return to Scotland The Railway Magazine issue 1253 September 2005 page 71
  18. ^ 322 for Leeds-Doncaster Entrain issue 45 September 2005 page 59
  19. ^ First Class 322 is overhauled Rail issue 538 26 April 2006 page 25
  20. ^ Final 322 Outshopped Rail issue 560 28 February 2007 page 50
  21. ^ Class 322 moves south to Northern Rail issue 675 27 July 2011 page 26
  22. ^ ScotRail Class 322s bow out Today's Railways UK issue 118 October 2011 page 66
  23. ^ Moving In, Moving on, Moving Out The Railway Magazine issue 1404 March 2018 page 41
  24. ^ Northern finishes with Dusty Bins Railways Illustrated July 2020 page 16

External links[edit]

Media related to British Rail Class 322 at Wikimedia Commons